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Old 07-01-2008, 10:00 AM
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Is this a disease?

This is my first and largest Cym. (noid). I just repotted it 2 weeks ago...it was in the growers pot and the medium was really broken down. Had quite a few dead roots (which I trimmed) then put it in fresh medium. When I trimmed, I used a sterilized (boiling water) pair of scissors. Prior to the repot, a couple of the leaves started doing what's in the picture. At first it was just a small area on 2 of what appears to be the oldest leaves and I didn't think anything of it because I attributed it to the old medium. I got it a few months ago and put off doing the repot -- I know, I know...but it happened.

Also, I'm noticing a lot of browned tips...you can see the one that's taken over on the visible leaf. I've read this is attributed to too much fert but that can't be the case here as I'm horrible about remembering to fert my orchids and when I do remember (about every 2-3 weeks) I used a weak solution.

I thought once I repotted it, it would begin to bounce back. But...it's gradually gotten worse and it's taking over more of the leaves.

Is this disease or just a natural process? Hopefully you can tell by the pictures.

I do know that it's been unseasonably cold and wet the past 2-3 weeks here but I also read the Cym. are OK w/cooler temps.

I should also add that it's only affecting the leaves of what appears to be the 2 oldest pbulbs (correct term for Cym?)...the 2 newer pbulbs and the 2 newest growths appears to be blemish free.

What do you think?

Thanks!
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cymprob.jpg   cymprob2.jpg  

Last edited by katrina; 07-01-2008 at 11:49 AM. Reason: added info
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Old 07-01-2008, 12:36 PM
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I wish I could help but I don't know that much about cyms. But you know Solay has a ton of them so I am sure might be able to tell you something about. I know several of our other members have some cyms too. Well good luck and hopefully it's just a normal thing, keep us updated!
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Old 07-01-2008, 12:40 PM
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I'm not that familiar with cyms but that looks like sunburn. With any orchid, if you had to cut off a lot of roots, it may take a bit of time for it to recover. Also, did you repot in the same size pot? It looks a bit big for the size of plant.
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Old 07-01-2008, 01:52 PM
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It's in an 8" orchid pot right now.

It was originally in a deep 6" plastic pot and I couldn't find anything deep enough. Reusing the old pot wasn't an option because it was split on one side.

There's a couple of reason I oped to bump up the size even though I trimmed away quite a few roots. First and the most difficult to deal with...the depth of the root system was unbelievable because that other pot was really tall -- it looked to be one of those 6" pots used for perennials and or landscape plants -- really deep. So, I gingerly spread the roots out and made them fill the pots to the sides rather than deep. Second, I read in one my books somewhere that cyms can grow really fast and it's best to put them into a bigger pot and then let them fill it in. I admit, I had some concerns over this in regards to roots staying too wet which is why I put it into a clay pot rather than the plastic pot recommended - thinking w/clay there's less chance of things going bad.

Believe it or not though...even though the top doesn't look like it...about a half inch down the roots are really filling in the sides of that pot. Probably only has about a 1/4'-1/2" of room for growth all the way around.

I hope I didn't make it worse by this decision. YIKES!

As for the sunburn...it only gets morning sun--it's on an east facing front porch and there's no direct sun from around 11am through the rest of the day. I was actually concerned (after what I've read about this plant and the light requirements) that maybe it wasn't getting enough light.

I will say though...after the trim and repot...I didn't give it any special treatment...I put it right back where it was. Maybe it was just a shock thing...even though no extra light...perhaps I should've put it somewhere a little shadier for a little while. ???

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Old 07-01-2008, 02:19 PM
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One thing I do know about cyms is they do not like moving about. Once they're in one spot they like to stay there.

In terms of your fertilizing schedule, what I find easier is to just fertilize with every watering. Don't be too scared to use too much fertilizer. Here's a very good read on feeding your orchids:

First Rays' Free Info (Good articles under Feeding your plants)
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Old 07-01-2008, 06:00 PM
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Could be virus, and the shock shock of the transplant made it show up, but not at all sure, and I would not condemn the plant without a test. So, wait for other comments.
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Old 07-01-2008, 06:27 PM
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Darn!

If it turns out to be virus...of which I'm not willing to pay for a virus test to find out 100% (I've heard they can be costly and this is a noid plant)...but if that's the suspicion...would you pitch it?

Wait...if it is a virus...wouldn't that show in the new growth too?

I've had some black spot problems and rot issues when first starting out w/orchids (over and incorrect watering)...those were easy to diagnose and remedy...this is my first go round w/a virus situation. I've read it's best to get rid of the plant for fear of infecting everything else in the collection.

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Old 07-01-2008, 06:31 PM
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Oh, sorry bkim...I meant to thank you for the great link. I very briefly checked it out...it's CHOCKED full of info. Thanks for sharing! I've saved the link for more in-depth reading.

About the fertilizing...it's not so much that I'm afraid...I just forget to do it. Yeah, I know...bonehead move... but it's just one of those things I haven't developed a good routine with. It would be much easier if I could just do it with each watering....then I wouldn't have to worry about a schedule with it. Much, much easier for me. I'll read more from the link.

Thanks again!
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Old 07-01-2008, 07:46 PM
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It may be Cymbidium Mosaic Virus, but not really sure, so here's some links to help .
http://www.agdia.com/orchid_product_brochure.pdf
http://images.katalogas.lt/maleidykl...io_029_034.pdf
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Old 07-01-2008, 08:17 PM
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I don't know if it's a virus or sun damage. I get the same marking on some of my Cyms. leaves and I just cut it off. I find the new growth will come in fine with no problems. That's why I tend to think it's sun damage. Then again maybe mine are virused. Still they are growing and flowering.

The 2nd pic. of the leaf tip damage is definitely sun or over fertilization. I would just cut off and remove the damaged area. I do it for looks than anything else. I fertilize every 3 weeks and sometimes monthly. I also use a time release fertilizer that I sprinkle on top of the medium during the growing season. That way you do not need to fertilize every watering.

You might want to keep it separated from other plants until new growth comes in and see if the same problem develops. Also move it into direct morning sun gradually.

Did you have the plant indoors and then just moved it outside? That could be the problem. It's not use to the direct sun yet.

The pot is fine as long as the roots fit and there's room for new roots to grow. They can tolerate being pot bound really well so I wouldn't worry about the pot being too small.

Hope this helps. I grow a lot of Cyms. but I certainly am no expert. I hope it's not a viral infection cause that'll mean some of mine are virused too.
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Old 07-01-2008, 09:35 PM
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Ok...after seeing Anton's post...I went on a search. Started w/your links Anton (Thank you very much)...then continued around google.

Here's what I found...viruses usually appear on both sides of the leaf. So, if it's on the upper side...you will see the same marks on the underside. If it's only on the one side...could be fungus problems, stress, sun damage or simply cultural extremes. Basically...anything. Helpful, huh? LOL!

Anyway...LUCKILY, my Cym does not show this. However, even though I thought I was virus free...I found virus symptoms on a handful of my Oncid alliance plants. What I thought originally were just poor cultural spots...looks exactly like Cym Fleck virus. Which could be why they struggled so much over the winter. I kept losing young leaves and they seemed to be shrinking rather than doing well. I thought it was an enviromental issue...now I'm pretty certain virus. ARRGGGHHH!

So...and perhaps this was a bit hasty as I am basing it all on pics and descriptions from the web (and gut feeling)...but I just threw out the suspect plants. I would rather be wrong on those 5...than to lose everything else. They've been struggling anyway so I figure what the heck. Though I do hate to lose my Beallara Marfitch 'Howards Dream'....and my Brassia Eternal Wind 'Summer Dream' such beautiful flowers! But...it's easier and more economical to replace 5 plants over having to replace everything.

Maybe it was stupid...maybe not. But I feel better knowing they can't spread anything through the rest of my collection.

I'm hanging onto the cym since the leaves aren't marked on both sides and I'll just keep it separated from the others and wait and watch. I'll do what you do Solay and just trim off the ugly parts. thanks!

Thanks everyone for all your help/advice and experience. I'll tell you...I've learned a lot over the past several days since joining (asking and reading lots)! I'm so happy I found this forum!

Needless to say...w/all the info to peruse here...I haven't accomplished much of anything else. LOL! Good thing I'm on a semi-vacation this week!

Thanks again!

Losing some beloved beauties is good reason to go orchid shopping...wouldn't you guys agree?
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Old 07-01-2008, 09:39 PM
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Hey Solay...sorry I didn't answer you questions. Yeah, the plant was inside during the winter and as soon as it was warm enough the cym came out first. He'd been outside about 3 weeks before I repotted. And, yep, went from inside to that direct sun early am until about 11am. I just figured it was really early sun and he'd be fine. Hopefully, it's just sun damage. Fingers crossed!

I'll keep you posted since you have some w/a similar appearance.

Thanks!
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Old 07-01-2008, 10:39 PM
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Definitely agree. More orchids!!!
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Old 07-02-2008, 12:12 AM
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Karina, the important thing is to us good hygiene with your orchids. While some symptoms are pretty positive to identify virus, most symptoms are not clear at all if it is virus or some look alike problems. Also, most virused orchids show no symptoms at all, so that you probably have a few plants in your collection still with virus, and may have thrown out non-virused plants. Without testing, it just isn't a sure thing. That is why we are so careful, some of us, to always treat our tools for virus protection. Unfortunately, I believe boiling water is not really hot enough to be sure it kills virus, and certainly it is not hot enough to kill some fungal spores. I would recommend 10% bleach for 10-15 minutes, a saturated solution of TriSodiumPhosphate for the same time (not the TSP substitute), or some amount of heat beyond the temp of boiling water.
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Old 07-02-2008, 02:54 AM
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It doesn't look like cymbidium virus to me. It looks more like mechanical damage. Someone did suggest sunburn which is a possibility. If you're concerned, I suggest considering cuttign the leaf off. Don't dispose of it in compost or anywhere it could cpread to other plants just incase it is a fungal infection of some sort. Take Cynthis'a advice about the TSP I used to use it regularly when I lived in the US. You can't get it here in Australia. I think you've probably ot got much to worry about. I don't think virus testing should cost much. When it lived in the US (only about 5 yers ago) I could get it done through my orchid society for $5 per test.
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Old 07-02-2008, 06:59 AM
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The thing that concerned me most was that those particular plants have death issues. Meaning...for no reason at all (that I could figure out) new growth would start and by the time it got the 2nd or 3 little leaf popping...they turn brown from the inside out and shrivel up. Especially the Brassia...that one was a huge plant last year when I bought it (sometime in the summer) and then this spring there was more dead pbulbs in it than there were live. I opted to split it down, get rid of the browned areas and get it into smaller pots in hopes of saving it. It's continued to decline.

At first I thought OK..it's just an environmental issue because I do keep my house cool. But after reading what I saw...and matching the leaf marks...well...there's something wrong w/those particular plants. I have others that are not showing the same issues. Yeah, they weren't super happy over the winter but they are bouncing back. Even have one blooming. So...those others probably had something wrong w/them and then the environment issues over the winter prob pushed them over the edge. ? I don't know.

OK...so I probably freaked out a bit but I do have a lot of orchids (& they ain't cheap-LOL)...so I'd hate to lose all the others because of 5 that were sick.

So moving on....Cynthia...I had NO idea boiling water wasn't good enough. You know...I've probably created this problem because last year I was using alcohol until I read it was a poor disinfectant...the article recommended plunging the scissors into boiling water so that's what I've been doing. I can't use bleach (HUGELY allergic)...however, I do have a product I can use that's green and has all the properties of bleach...w/out the toxic fumes. :-) I'm not familiar w/TSP -- I'll check it out but because of allergies, it might be another I can't use. I'm allergic to everything!

kmarch, I thought you'd have to go through some lab or something. I can check into it w/the local OS. Thanks for the tip.

Well...maybe I was too hasty...maybe not. I'll never know now. I guess though...because those plants were so sickly looking...and I know this is not scientific...but I just feel there was something wrong w/them. It didn't matter how much I babied them over the winter...they got worse and worse. And yet, I have a couple others that while they weren't completely happy campers...they just didn't have the same death issues. They shrivelled up a bit and that's about it.

At least if I have any others w/virus...they are healthy enough to deal with it. I did read that a lot of plants have viruses and yet they go on to have a happy, healthy, blooming life.

Improve the hygiene! Use better disinfecting. And, go shopping!!

Thanks again guys for all your help.
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Old 07-02-2008, 07:45 AM
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Sterilizing tools is your best bet to avoid spreading viruses throughout your orchid collection. However, the question is how to do it. Several techniques are in current use, not just for orchids but all plants. These include alcohol soak, sodium hypochlorite (Chlorox) soak, trisodium phosphate (TSP) soak, and heating by various means (oven,torch, etc). Disposable razor blades used one time are a good choice to avoid the sterilization issue.

I know of no properly conducted research that supports any of these methods except extreme heating. That is why the American Hosta Society sponsored research at the U of Minnesota is so important. (Some of the methods above have been suggested by virus experts, but are not backed by any research that I know of). The AHS study includes testing various sterilization methods for effectiveness.

Alcohol soak (sometimes followed with a flaming of the residual alcohol) is the easiest on metal tools. Chlorox and TSP are extremely corrosive to metals so don't buy expensive tools if you plan to use these methods. Your tools won't survive for long.

Heating briefly with a propane torch or in an oven for 1 hour at a minimum temperature of 350 F seems the most effective method for me at this time. Heat is known to kill viruses in general. If you buy $1 scissor at a dollar store, they will last at least 25 torch cycles being heated very hot (red hot tips). Most of these cheap scissor now have plastic handles (or plastic coated handles). The torch heat is not conducted into handles enough to hurt them, but heating in an oven is not recommended due to melting. You can buy a cheap propane torch used to sweat copper fittings at any home improvement store for under $30 including your initial propane tank.

Less anyone think viruses are trivial, American sweet potatoes can only be grown from virus free seedlings produced from meristem tip cloning. North Carolina State and Clemson both produce these seedlings for farmers. New news from Florida (this week) indicates that watermelons can not complete their growth from Orlando and points south due to a virus infection. Unless a method to get virus free vines is developed, watermelons will not be able to be grown in south Florida at all. Eventually this will creep into other areas and potentially become world wide.

Do whatever you wish, but obtaining virus free plants and maintaining good sterile practices is vital if you wish to collect orchids over the long haul. It is not optional.
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Old 07-02-2008, 08:29 AM
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Whoa, Slow down!!!!

I know this may sound like an incredibly stupid (and newbie-like) thing to say, but is it not at all possible that this is entirely natural? what i mean to say is, has it occured to anyone that a noid-culture Cym. might start to die to a backbulb before any new shoots have appeared? it's just that much the same thing happened to my cymbidiums a while ago now, with all the leaves dropping off before the first new shoots poked through, and if i remember rightly, the leaves looked almost exactly the same as your ones, with the oldest dying off first (as was to be expected). not to detract from what everyone else has said; they all raise extremely valid, well supported points; but is it too hard to believe that your replanting may have coincided with the end of the growing season, when this kind of thing tends to happen? its just that someone reminded me today of the concept of [William of] Ockham's Razor, that the simplest solution is usually the most likely, and i just thought that people may be getting ahead of themselves, causing a bit of a fuss where one isn't needed. it's just that you might do something drastic, such as destruction of such a beautiful plant, when all that was needed was a simple approach to the probem, and thus, my advice is this; keep the plant where it is, moving any other, healthier ones to other suitable spots (they would be able to handle it better), and treat it in much the way that everyone has been recommending, but WITHOUT KILLING IT. just make sure you wash your hands thouroughly after you do anything with it (just to be safe). chances are it will be fine, but just in case, don't give up on it until you are doubly sure it really is dead. this is the way i approach everything in life, not just orchid growing, and i am far better off for it. not to mention, it's helped me save almost half of all the plants i've ever grown, and that is a very large number, i must tell you. Last, but certainly not least, Good luck, and i hope it gets better. only time can tell. sincerely, 401820.
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Old 07-02-2008, 08:42 AM
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Thanks guys!

401820 - I'm not dumping the cym at this time. I plan on watching it and see what happens. The others...as stated before...too many indicators of a serious problem and it made me nervous about spreading it thru the rest of the plants. You're not the only newbie here so could be I'm waaaaay off on all of this. But, my philosophy is to float on the side of caution -- I don't have a ton of room here and therefore my plants are all kept in relative close proximity. I feel the risk outweighs the loss of those 5 plants.

JLu -- I thought I was sterilizing...novice mistake. I like the idea of the propane torch because I prefer to use more natural products -- meaning "Green". :-)

Thanks again everyone!
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Old 07-02-2008, 01:26 PM
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401820, if you think I was jumping on the boat that Katrina has a virus...I wasn't. In fact I think she has the typical fungal growth that occurs on older leaves that are in the process of going away. So I guess I'm in agreement with you although there are virus symptoms that look very much like this also.

The virus issue is very much a part of this thread because of the sterilization issue that was brought up. I just used the vehicle to comment on methods. I've been involved with viruses on Hostas. Go to any US nursery in the spring and you will see many virused Hostas for sale. Entire sections of a single cultivar will be infected and that's just the ones showing symptoms.

Hosta vendors (the good ones) are going all out to get, keep,and sell only virus free plants. That's what is driving the AHS sponsored research. Vendors realize that the popularity of the Hosta is at stake.

I only wish orchids vendors tried as hard, but they won't until their actions result in severely reduced sales. I think the best ones are trying hard, but they don't want to talk about the issue at all for fear of scaring customers away. Discussion of the issue tends to cause newcomers to rethink their interest in orchids. These things aren't new, but the mass production and mass merchandising is new and is aggravating the problem. It will eventually get big enough to cause some financial issues in the orchid industry and things will start to improve.
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:28 AM
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Another aspect could be spider mites.....

A couple of my Cyms got mites and the leaves ended up looking like this. Also a couple of the new growths that looked great coming up all of a sudden deteriorated rapidly and died.

Check for these little boogers as well. You can "webbing" and the critters themselves on the under sides of the leaves.
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Old 07-03-2008, 09:32 AM
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Great idea but...nope...no spider mites. I'm all toooooooo familiar w/those little buggers...they did a job on a couple of houseplants a few years back. I'm always keeping a eye open for them because of how fast they can inundate a plant and just suck the life right out of it.

Thanks for the suggestion though.

Speaking of bugs...right now I'm contending w/Japanese Beetles and they love orchid flowers! Get a couple of them on a flower and that flower will be destroyed in no time. It's constant check and pick and drop in alcohol. They're almost worse than spider mites!
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